Brisbane Airport lockdown: Police shoot man in ‘bomb threat’

The Queensland Police Service said the man was taken into custody abour 9.30pm. Courtesy: Herald Sun

A MAN was last night shot by police in front of terrified travellers at Brisbane International Airport after allegedly pulling a “huge serrated knife” on a woman in the food court. 

Specialist police fired at the man with non-lethal beanbag rounds just after 9pm and he was taken into custody.

It is understood the 50-year-old man, from Surfers Paradise, pulled the knife on a family member and threatened that he had a bomb during a domestic violence incident.

Police last night ruled out terrorism.

Footage of the ordeal, obtained exclusively by The ­Sunday Mail, shows the man waving a knife as scared witnesses watch on in fear.

In the footage, the man pauses and places what appears to be a metal box on a table while ranting.

The man claimed to onlookers to have a bomb, but police found no evidence of this last night.

One witness – a 51-year-old woman – said the man was “solid” and threatened a woman wearing a hijab with a “huge serrated knife”.

“It was the scariest,” the woman said.

“There was a girl, she had a hijab and she was just yelling ‘help, help me’. I thought they were having an argument.

“There was a big guy, probably six foot, about 60 (years old). He looked mad.

“He was fixated.”

The airport was placed into lockdown for more than two hours, with nervous travellers left unaware in many instances of what had happened inside until they were told by media at the scene.

No one was injured in the incident, police said.

A police source said: “A beanbag round was shot at a man, in the abdomen. It spun him around and he decided to surrender to police.”

About an hour later, Bruce Bishop Carpark at Surfers Paradise was also placed into lockdown and evacuated after reports the man at the airport had made a threat to the area.

Superintendent Tony Fleming said police searched the area because the man lived near the carpark.

A police officer at Surfers Paradise said there was a “direct link” between the incidents.

“There is a link,” he said. “There is a vehicle linked to him that is here (in Surfers) and it looked like he had some sort of detonator.”

The man came to the airport after his wife, his mother- in-law and two children were planning to depart.

Nerang man Boon Heng Ong said the man and woman involved were Middle Eastern in appearance. Police said they had an argument in Arabic.

Security and federal police tried to approach the man as passengers fled in panic before he said he had a bomb and produced a knife.

Mr Ong said that, once he saw the man’s knife, “human instinct” kicked in.

“In these situations you just have to run for your life,” he said. “I think it is important people should see this. It’s a lesson. These things should never happen.”

The female witness said no one knew what was happening. Then they saw the man running towards them.

She was 5m from him at one point while she was sitting down at one of the terminal’s restaurants.

“He was running and she started screaming and running,” she said. “He was quite a big man, he was solid. He was wearing a white shirt.

“Beard with grey hair.”

The witness said the man was not targeting onlookers and seemed to only be interested in harming the woman.

The Queensland Police Service said the man was taken into custody abour 9.30pm.

He was rushed to a nearby police station for questioning.

Mr Ong said he was waiting to depart about 8pm when he was sitting at the food court charging his phone.

As a result of the incident, he said he missed his flight to Singapore.

Mr Ong said the first he realised something was wrong was when a woman screamed.

“I heard the woman yelling, it started with her yelling ‘help, help, police, police’, and she just ran away and the guy was chasing her,” he said.

“They were heading … outside the airport, and then he just pulled out the knife. It was quite big, 15-20cm.

“He was running after her with it. He was big and was a bad runner. They were running really fast.”

Police cordoned off the terminal, with officers closing approach roads as well.

Passengers, cars and buses filled nearby streets.

People waiting to collect passengers were assured they were safe inside the terminal but no one was being allowed in or out late last night.

Ankit Khanna and Sukh Bains, who arrived at the airport to collect a relative, said they were preparing for a long night waiting on the footpath outside the terminal.